|Claude Julien says ‘lack of finish is probably the biggest concern right now’||03.06.15 at 8:50 am ET|
It’s been the one thing that has haunted these Bruins all season.
They can’t find a way to finish scoring opportunities in and around the net and wind up regretting it at the end of the game. Such was the case again Thursday night in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames. There were several chances for the Bruins to put some distance between themselves and Calgary in the early and middle parts of the game and they simply couldn’t find the finishing touch.
There was Daniel Paille with a wrister on Flames goalie Karri Ramo midway through the first period. There was a slap shot from Dougie Hamilton that was deflected away by a stick at the last moment. But there was no better example of Boston’s inability to find the scoring touch than when Loui Eriksson, on a 3-on-1 rush, had the puck on his stick and fired wide of an empty net midway through the third period.
Carl Soderberg, without a goal since Jan. 17 against Columbus, has now gone 17 games without a goal. He had two chances in the opening period and couldn’t find the back of the net.
“Again, the challenge of our lack of finish is probably the biggest concern right now,” coach Claude Julien said. “So I think we had the better of the game, five-on-five. There’s no doubt we played a lot more in their end then they did in ours.
“It’s a little bit of maybe confidence, and you squeeze your stick you’re trying so hard. There’s a lot of guys, use Carl Soderberg as an example. He’s really struggled the last little while scoring goals, and guys are putting pressure on themselves. There’s games where you like your team’s game, but your finish is what ends up killing you at the end.”
Julien realizes that the Bruins had chances leading 1-0 and 2-1 to really do damage and failed to seize on the opportunity because they simply couldn’t finish.
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|Barry Melrose on MFB: Bruins need more than Brett Connolly to make playoffs||03.02.15 at 11:57 am ET|
ESPN hockey analyst Barry Melrose joined Middays with MFB to discuss the NHL trade deadline and the Bruins’ playoff prospects heading into the stretch run. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Sunday night, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli traded two second-round draft picks to the Lightning for 22-year-old forward Brett Connolly.
“I like Connolly,” Melrose said. “He’s a good young player. I think he’s certainly somebody down the road that could play some big minutes for the Boston Bruins. But I don’t know if he’s good enough to put them in the playoffs.”
Added Melrose: “[Connolly] is a good player, he’s a good young kid, he’s been successful where he’s been, but he’s not ready to change the fortunes of the Boston Bruins right now.”
The trade deadline is Monday at 3 p.m., and the Bruins still have time to make another deal.
“Make a deal, get a player that you need to make your team better,” Melrose said, discussing whether the Bruins will make more moves before the deadline. “Get [David] Krejci back, and all of a sudden you become a really good team instead of just a team hoping to make the playoffs.”
The Bruins currently occupy the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Panthers, who recently added future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr, are just two points behind.
“You saw Jagr go to Florida, Florida’s won two games since that’s happened,” Melrose said, adding: “It basically comes down to a playoff battle between Boston and Florida, and I think they play each three times yet. I just think Boston’s got to do more to make sure that they make a playoff spot.”
Added Melrose: “If the Boston Bruins miss the playoffs right now, probably some people will lose their jobs.”
However, Melrose believes that the Bruins will be able to hold on and finish the regular season in playoff position.
“I just can’t believe that [the Bruins] will be outplayed the last 20 games of the season by the Florida Panthers,” Melrose said.
For more Bruins news, visit the team page at weei.com/bruins.
|5 things we learned as Bruins beat Devils in overtime||02.27.15 at 9:47 pm ET|
Despite blowing a 2-0 lead to the Devils, the Bruins were able to come away with a victory in overtime, thanks to center Ryan Spooner’s first NHL goal.
The Bruins found the back of the net 8 1/2 minutes into the first period when Daniel Paille slapped home a Loui Eriksson pass for the first goal of the game.
In the third period, just moments after their own power play expired, the Bruins struck again. With Chris Kelly situated in front of the Devils net, rookie forward David Pastrnak fired the puck past Cory Schneider for his seventh goal of the season.
The Devils answered with two goals in two minutes to tie the game, and the teams went to overtime before Spooner ended the contest with his marker.
With the win, the Bruins improve to 30-22-9 and pull four points ahead of Florida in the Eastern Conference.
Here are four more things we learned Friday:
SVEDBERG STOPS 29
In his last three starts, the most recent of which was Feb. 10, Niklas Svedberg had only played the full 60 minutes for one of them. With Tuukka Rask out of the lineup due to illness, Svedberg was given a chance to start in net.
In just one period of play during his last start, Svedberg surrendered three goals to the Stars on 10 shots and was pulled for Rask. Prior to that, he shut out the Devils, 2-0, on Jan. 8, making 14 saves in the process, but was chased in the start before that after giving up three goals to the Blue Jackets on 15 shots.
Svedberg made 29 saves on Friday night and held New Jersey scoreless until the third period when the Devils scored twice in two minutes, tying the game.
Though the Bruins outshot the Devils, New Jersey’s two quick goals lit a fire and pushed Boston back into its own zone for a lot of the third, forcing Svedberg to make saves.
|Pierre McGuire on MFB: ‘Pressure is just amped up unbelievable’ with Bruins right now||02.19.15 at 2:11 pm ET|
The Bruins lost in a shootout to the Oilers on Wednesday night, which was their fifth straight loss overall, and sixth in their last seven games. McGuire noted the loss to the struggling Oilers was a bad loss, and the pressure has been raised a great deal with the team as the trade deadline approaches.
“I am not going to change because I really like this team. I like major components of this team, but there were a few things last night,” McGuire said. “No. 1, they did all the changes they needed to change in order to try and be competitive in that game. Secondly, they had a terrible start, which doesn’t speak well to some of the commitment of some of the players on that team. And the third thing is they did go with their perceived best goalie and probably is their best goalie in Tuukka Rask and weren’t able to get the job done.
“That is a huge point in the standings. It’s a huge, huge point. If you look at the rest of the road trip — they are in St. Louis and they are in Chicago — two very difficult places to play. This has a chance to be 0-5 on the trip. That is not where you wanted to be, especially with their run through Alberta. This is going to be really interesting to watch the Bruins because I got to believe the pressure is just amped up unbelievable.”
With the way things are in the standings, currently sitting in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, there is no wiggle room for the Bruins.
“They are up against it, no question,” said McGuire. “I think this is going to be, especially when you consider Cam Neely’s words to Kevin Paul DuPont. Those were strong words. Those were coming from ownership. Those were coming from a man that is fully vested in the team and helped put the team together. You have to think this is a real difficult situation for Peter Chiarelli and for the Bruins hierarchy to figure out because the cap wise they are in trouble. That is the reason why they traded Johnny Boychuk this year. Now some people could say revision is history.
“‘Hey, they should have kept Boychuk and just played it out at the end of the year, and why didn’t they keep Jarome Iginla and his 30 goals?’ There are going to be a lot of second guessers here. I still think the team is good enough to make the playoffs and have a run, but I do think they need to do something before they get to the trade deadline on March 2. What that is, I don’t know. I don’t know how they are going to pull it off.”
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|5 things we learned as Bruins blow 3-goal lead, lose in last second of overtime vs. Flames||02.17.15 at 12:00 am ET|
The example of Murphy’s Law that is the 2014-15 Boston Bruins season really outdid itself Monday night.
After bouncing back from Friday night’s embarrassing loss to the Canucks with an inspired effort through two periods, the Bruins saw Calgary march back to tie the game in the third period, after falling behind 3-0, and beat the B’s, 4-3, on a fluky goal with 2.4 seconds to play in overtime.
With the final seconds ticking down, T.J. Brodie tossed a lazy backhand shot towards the net from a bad angle that went off Brad Marchand‘s stick and up towards the net, then hit the top of the net and Tuukka Rask‘s back before finally going in to give Calgary the 4-3 overtime win (click here for the box score).
The loss was Boston’s fourth straight (0-3-1) and fifth in the last six games (1-4-1).
After pulling Karri Ramo following Boston’s third goal, the Flames and Jonas Hiller did not allow another goal as Calgary scored three unanswered goals in regulation to tie the game and force overtime.
The Flames finished their comeback on a power play goal after David Pastrnak took a high-sticking penalty with 14:42. Norris favorite Mark Giordano fired a snap shot from the top of the zone that went off Jiri Hudler in front and past Tuukka Rask to make it 3-3.
The Bruins next play Wednesday in Edmonton.
Here are four more things we learned Monday.
Kevan Miller left the game late in the second period and did not return. The second-year NHLer took a hit midway through the second that could have led to his exit, though he took two shifts after that.
Miller missed 12 games earlier this season with a dislocated right shoulder suffered in a fight on Oct. 18. He admitted recently that he will need offseason surgery on the shoulder and that he has been advised to not fight the rest of the season.
|Pierre McGuire on MFB: Bruins might need trade to shake things up||02.12.15 at 1:54 pm ET|
NBC Sports NHL analyst Pierre McGuire made his weekly appearance Thursday on Middays with MFB to preview the Bruins’ upcoming West Coast trip, and also to look at what might happen at the trade deadline. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
With the Bruins losers of three of their last four games, and in fourth place in the Atlantic Division, McGuire feels the team might need to shake things up at the trade deadline.
“The Bruins are a team that might need to shake the tree,” said McGuire. “Not really hard so they lose a lot of the leaves on the tree, but shake it so the tree gets everybody’s attention. I do think there might be a tune out factor, or there could be a burnout factor — maybe some guys just need to be traded to get them a new leaf on life.”
“I wouldn’t mess with the depth of guys — I really wouldn’t,” he added. “I don’t think the depth guys are a problem. I think what they really need to do is add more offense. If you at it, this is a team that doesn’t have a 20-goal scorer on their roster. That is a little bit scary when you look at the depth they have down the middle. … When you have that kind of depth down the middle and you’re not getting scoring from the wingers in particular, that is problematic.”
The Bruins are set to begin a five-game road trip, beginning Friday night in Vancouver. McGuire feels this is a big stretch for the black and gold.
“They definitely have to go on a run here,” said McGuire. “I am telling you, this is the first time I can honestly tell you guys this … this is the first time the Bruins have to scoreboard watch.”
Over the last four games, the Bruins have scored just a total of eight goals. McGuire noted goal scoring has been one of the biggest issues this season.
“They are not scoring goals easily enough,” said McGuire. “There is some haphazard defensive play. There isn’t enough consistency for 60 minutes in their game. Tuukka Rask has this huge problem playing against the Montreal Canadiens — they are going to have to sort that out. There’s been a little bit of a lack of discipline. That was troubling the other night in that loss to Dallas — two short-handed goals against, that speaks to the lack of intensity and speaks to guys not paying attention to little details.
“This is the first time I will say this, because I am bullish on this team, I still like this team a lot, but this is the first time this year that they have to scoreboard watch and that is not a real comfortable thing for a team that is probably underachieving right now.”
|Zdeno Chara: ‘We need to turn this thing around really quickly’||02.11.15 at 10:41 am ET|
The urgency was clearly marked in the first words Zdeno Chara spoke after the Bruins dropped a 5-3 decision to a Dallas Stars team not currently in the Western Conference playoff field.
“It was just a terrible effort,” the Bruins captain said. “It is something we need to get right and we don’t have much time. We need to turn this thing around really quickly. It is unacceptable to be getting scored on twice in one game [shorthanded] obviously in a crucial part of the game. We need to be better.”
After winning eight of their final 10 games in January to creep up within four points of first place Montreal in the Atlantic Division, the Bruins have suddenly stumbled in February. They have lost three of four to open the month, and the one game they won (against the Islanders) they admittedly were fortunate to come out on top. They now lead the Florida Panthers by just four points (63-59) for the second and final wild card playoff spot in the East.
How does Chara explain bad habits creeping back in?
“It is something that we have sort it out,” Chara said. “We know that we have been better the last little while but again the last two, three games again, we started to have mental breakdowns and started drifting away from the game plan. That is something we can’t go back to again.
“I think it is a combination of maybe a number of things like you said. It is hard to really point at one thing. We know that when we play a certain way we are pretty effective and when we are not we start doing something different and that is how we get into trouble. A lot of times we need better effort, we need better urgency, we need better mental focus. It is just a combination of all of those things.”
Now the Bruins have to find their way through a five-game trip that begins Friday night in Vancouver, and includes trips to Calgary, Edmonton, St. Louis and Chicago.
“It is disappointing. We know that it was our last game for a while at home and now we have a long road trip and for sure we wanted to finish with a way better effort and result than we did. So for sure that is disappointing.”